FIFF Director Reza Mirkarimi announced this year’s names at a presser in Tehran on Wednesday.
Cinema Salvation – International Competition Jury:
Joanna Kos-Krauze is one of the most important directors in contemporary Polish cinema. She has received over two hundred Polish and international awards for films which she co-directed: My Nikifor, Saviour Square, Papusza, and Birds Are Singing in Kigali. She graduated in Polish and Hebrew studies, but even back then she was interested in film. In 1997, she worked as an associate director for Jaroslaw Zamojdas’s Young Wolves ½ and an assistant on the set of Farrago, a TV drama by Lidia Amejko. Meeting Krzysztof Krauze, one of the most important Polish filmmakers, was a groundbreaking moment in her creative biography. In 1996, she collaborated with him on Street Games, a thriller dealing with the influence of socialist Poland’s secret service on the 1990s reality. She came up with the idea of My Nikifor. The story of a painter active in Krynica half a century ago became the biggest Polish festival hit since the early 1990s. The film received awards in Karlovy Vary – including ones for the best film and best director. Her subsequent films – Saviour Square, Papusza, and Birds Are Singing in Kigali – have been well received by critics, audience and film festivals. Her work is constant pursuit – for subjects, form, and challenges. Through films like My Nikifor and Papusza, she has explored the magical world of artists and art. While Saviour Square delves into the complexities of interpersonal relationships. Her film Birds Are Singing in Kigali tells a story of the Rwandan genocide, personal connections and discovering yourself through a perilous journey. Joanna prefers to make something awkward which will be a result of trying, instead of repeating the same thing to perfection.
Born in 1959, Milcho Manchevski is a Macedonian film director. Manchevski’s acclaimed Before the Rain (1994) is considered “one of the greatest debut feature films in the history of cinema” (Annette Insdorf) and “one of the most important films of the decade” (Ann Kibbey). The New York Times included it on its “Best 1,000 Films Ever Made” list. It won the Golden Lion in Venice, Independent Spirit, an Academy Award nomination and 30 other awards. Manchevski’s work – which also includes the award-winning features Dust, Shadows, Mothers, Bikini Moon and the award-winning short forms The End of Time, Thursday, Macedonia Timeless, Tennessee and 1.73, and an episode of HBO’s The Wire – “stands out in world cinema for its unique way of playing with space, time and emotion” (Keith Brown). Roger Ebert said, “Work like this keeps me going. A reminder of the nobility that film can attain.” “His unique blend of experimentation, poetry, emotion and a demand for the active participation of the viewer in the construction of meaning are highly praised” (Conor McGrady). He has also written books of fiction and essays, published books of photographs and staged performance art. He teaches film directing.
Dimitri Athanitis is a film director born in Athens, where he studied cinema and architecture. His last film Invisible (2016) gained 14 Awards, screening at more than 40 festivals. His first film Addio Berlin (1994) gained Jury’s Prize and Critic’s Mention at Thessaloniki IFF for his innovating style while his second feature No Sympathy for the Devil (1997) was nominated for Golden Alexander and gained the Best Actress Award in TIFF. Other films of his are An Athens Summer Night Dream (1999), a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, 2000+1 Shots (2001) a fiction on millennium which the Australian critic Bill Mousoulis chose among the ten best films in the world for 2001 in Senses of Cinema, Planet Athens (2005) a fiction shot in real time during the Olympic Games and Three Days Happiness (2012). He is also writer and producer of his films. His first book Secret Encounters (2017) was published a few months ago, while his video installation in progress Athens Underground (2012-2017) is presented in various art galleries.
Born in 1941, one of the leading luminaries of the New Indian Cinema, Adoor Gopalakrishnan has written and directed twelve feature films. He has participated in all major film festivals around the world. International Film Critics’ Prize has gone to him six times successively. National award for best director five times. BFI award for the Most Original and Imaginative film of 1982 for Elippathayam (Rat-trap), French Govt’s Legion of Honor: Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters (2004), Dada Phalke Award – India’s highest national honor for cinema (2005). India’s top civilian honor Padma Vibhushan (2006). Major retrospectives of his films include those at the Smithsonian in Washington, Cinematheque in Paris, La Rochelle, Pesaro, Lincoln Centre New York, Fribourg, Lyons, Ljubljana, and Munich, etc. He has served on the juries of Venice, Singapore (Chair), Hawaii, Fribourg (Chair), Alexandria (Chair), New Delhi, Sochi, Shanghai, Dubai (Chair), Cairo (Chair), and Valladolid (Chair), Goa (Chair). Lifetime achievement awards at Cairo, Denver, New Jersey, Colombo, Pune and Mami fests. DLitt from M.G. University, Kerala University, and Viswabharati University. Author of four books on cinema.
Born in Milan, 1949, Giovanni Spagnoletti studied in Rome and at the Freie Universität in Berlin and received a degree in German studies at the Roman University La Sapienza with the maximum grade. Since 1991, he has taught Cinema and Criticism at La Sapienza and since November 2000, has been Professor of Cinema and Criticism at Rome University, Tor Vergata. Being an expert in relations between literature and cinema, he has worked in the fields of Italian, German and international cinema and is responsible for numerous books and essays pertaining to them (about 50). He edited two series of cinema books and contributed several articles for magazines and cinema reviews like Bianco & Nero, Cineforum, Segno Cinema, Movie, Il Manifesto, Il Mattino, Rinascita, Süddeutsche Zeitung (Munich), Frankfurter Rundschau (Frankfurt/Main), and RAI 3 radio. For German TV, he co-directed a documentary on Bernardo Bertolucci, From Parma to Peking (1989). He was a consultant for many Italian (Salsomaggiore, Taormina, Turin, and Venice) and German film festivals (Berlin Forum, Munich). From 2000 to 2015, he was the Artistic Director of the Pesaro Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale Del NuovoCinema di Pesaro); 2006-2015, he was chairman of the Associazione Italiana Festival di Cinema (Afic). Since 1997, he has been the editor of the cinema review Close Up (30 issues until 2011) and since 1998 of the web magazine Close-Up. He is a member of the Scientific Board of the association Fondo Pier Paolo Pasolini (Bologna) and of the Scuola diCinema Gian Maria Volonté (Rome).
Mahmoud Kalari was born on April 31, 1951, in Tehran, Iran. After completing photography in New York and Sigma Photo News Agency, he held his first photo exhibition titled Visit From People Around Us at Tehran University in 1976. A few years later, he started working in Paris based Sigma Photo News Agency for four years. In 1980, he was ranked one of the ’15 Best Photographers of the Year’ by Time Magazine, and his photos were published in French, German, and American magazines. Kalari moved back to Iran and from 1982 to 1984 worked as supervisor of the Tehran National TV Photography Unit and attended Tehran University as guest lecturer in photojournalism. Kalari started his career in 1984 as cinematographer of Jadehay Sard (1985) (Frosty Roads) for which he won the Best Cinematography award at Tehran’s Fajr International Film Festival. He has shot more than 65 films since then including some of the most critically acclaimed movies such as Children of Heaven (Majid Majidi), and A Separation (Asghar Farhadi). He won the Mar del Plata Film Festival award for The Cloud and the Rising Sun (1998) which was his directorial debut.
Born in 1974, Iran, a graduate of Azad University of Tehran, she became interested in cinema through Ezatollah Entezami’ sacting courses. She started her acting career in TV in 1994 by Detective and her first feature film as actress, Patak (Ali Asghar Shadravan). She received the Crystal Simorgh for the best actress in a supporting role for The Friday’s Soldiers (2005, Masoud Kimiai), from the 23rd Fajr International Film Festival. She is the winner of best actress award in the 32nd Fajr International Film Festival for Track 143 (Narges Abyar). Over the years, she has worked with acclaimed Iranian directors such as Reza Mirkarimi (Daughter), Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, About Elly), Ebrahim Hatmikia (Che, Bodyguard, and Invitation), Abbas Kiarostami (Shirin) and Tahmineh Milani (Two women, The Fifth Reaction).
Eastern Vista – Panorama of Films from Asian and Islamic Countries – Jury:
Salome Demuria was born in Abkhazia, Georgia, 1985. Because of the civil war in 1992, her family had to leave their house. After that, she lived in different towns in Georgia and also in Russia. In 2007, Demuria graduated from the Tbilisi State Theater and Film University in acting. After that, she worked in the Gori dramatic theater for a few years. Her first feature film was Chaika directed by Miguel Angel Jimenez, a Spanish-Georgian co-production. She also acted in a leading role in Cholchu directed by Shamil Aliev, House of Other directed by Rusudan Gluejidze, and 37 directed by Dito Tsintsadze. Since 2013, she has been a board member of the Georgian Film Academy.
Born in Johore Baru, Panchacharam Nalliah (aka SuhanPanchacharam to the Indian fans and Pansha in the national film industry) had his first physical touch of a movie projector at the age of four when his father brought home a discarded hand-woven 35mm projector powered by torchlight and a roll of film for his four children to play with. That crude introduction prompted Pansha’s elder brother Sangarasivam along with a couple of his friends to start 16mm Mobile Cinema, screening Tamil movies in the estates near Johore Baru way back in 1962. The films were often brought home for private viewing by the family and that gave Pansha an opportunity to operate a real electrically operated Bell & Howell projector. This mug motivated Panshato start a cinema club in school (Sekolah Dato Jaffar) at the age of 16 through which he showed regular weekend shows for the students. At the age of 17 with friends Ramasamy and Maniam, Pansha leased the local Capitol cinema to screen Tamil and Hindi movies at an average of two days a month. It did not last as it was not highly profitable. Then, he moved to work as a field conductor in an estate in Kluang for about a year. Later he worked in a travel agency for another year. While in Kluang Pansha started a film distribution company ‘Malaysian Arts Corporation’ with his brother Sivam and a few friends and bought a couple of Tamil movies and gave it on distribution basis to Singapore based company called Indian Film Combine Pte Ltd (IFC). Though the movies did not fare well at the box office, Pansha was given the task of running the new office of IFC in Kuala Lumpur. From there he went on to set up his own business with his childhood friend Ramasamy, Sivam and two others under the banner of Suhan Agencies. It lasted for only a few years and SuhanMovies was born with only Ramasamy as the partner. PanshahFilm Production was launched in 1985 to produce movies and the name was subsequently changed to Berjaya Film Production and is now an ongoing entity. Pansha is still active in the local movie industry and leads several NGO’s.
Ahmet Boyagioglu graduated from Ankara University with a degree in medicine and spent 20 years working as a general surgeon. From 1988-1995 he served on the executive committee of the Ankara Film Festival. Since 1995 he has been the general secretary of the Festival on Wheels, as well as chairing the Ankara Cinema Association. Between 2005 and 2007, he took on the role of Turkish representative for Eurimages.
Ammar Jamal was born on Dec. 28, 1967, in Baghdad, Iraq. For 22 years he worked as cinematographer in a number of feature and short films. He received his diploma in cinematography, German Academy for Cinema-Botstam at 1997 and passed Lenses training course in Fujinon, Tokyo. He worked as cameraman for documentary films inside and outside Iraq and also worked as cameraman in the forbidden areas of Iraq for satellite TV channels (Al-Jazeera, CNN of Turkey, CNN of Spain, British Channel 4, Russian Governmental Channel, and TV of France). His other works include My Home on Google Earth, directed by Dunia Qabbani (2007), Ahzan Al-Matar (Ahmed Jumaa, 2008), documentary Aqlam Rasas Bila Rasas (Waleed FakhrAl-Deen), Makoo Tabib (Waleed Fakhr Al-Deen, 2008), and The Son of Babylon (Mohammed Al-Daraji), among others.
Farhad Aslani was born in 1966, Kordestan, Iran, studied acting and directing in theatre in Niavaran Cultural Center. He started his acting career on stage in 1978 and on radio in 1992. He had a cameo role in Neighbors, a popular TV show back in 1993, and in 1995 started his acting career in cinema with Rakhshan Bani Etemad’s The Blue-Veiled. Aslani won the Crystal Simorgh of Fajr Film Festival for his roles in Private Life, Bear and I’m a Mother. In 2011, he on TV after a long time as of Ibn Ziyad in Mokhtarnameh. For his exquisite performance in Daughter directed by Reza Mir-Karimi, he won the best actor award in Moscow International Film Festival 2016, the IFFI, the best actor award in 47th Goa International Film Festival, and the best actor award of Batumi International Film Festival.
Interfaith Competition Jury:
Valérie De Marnhac
Born in 1966, Valérie de Marnhac graduated from ESSEC (Business School) and holds a Master’s degree in Management of Cultural Organizations from Paris Dauphine University. After 20 years in the press at commercial and then publishing positions, she now contributes to film reviews for the SIGNIS.net website and hosts film-debates for several associations. She was a jury member for SIGNIS in several international film festivals such as Cannes and Fribourg.
Born in 1958, lives in Berlin and works in Hamburg for the Catholic Church as head of the division annunciation/missionary pastoral. He is a life and business coach and a companion to film retreats. As member of the Catholic Film Commission for Germany, he was President of Ecumenical Juries in Berlin, Locarno, and Montreal. Numerous publications in the field of Film & Theology, his thesis was about Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire. Wings of Desire – Secular Mystagogy – Wim Wenders’ Feature Film as a Challenge for Practical Theology. Der Himmel über Berlin – Säkulare Mystagogie – Wim Wenders’ Spielfilm as Herausforderung für die Praktische Theologie.
Born in 1970 Kerman, Iran, he graduated from Qom Seminary and got his Ph.D. in Religious Studies and MA of Islam and Christianity Relations from the Saint Joseph University of Beirut. He has a long and successful career as publisher and editor, and over the years has been the editor in chief of Hamshahri Newspaper and publisher of a number of magazines. Along with his career as a religious lecturer, Zaeri has a special interest in cinema and has served in numerous national film and photography festivals as jury member. He has also attended Bahram Beyzaei courses in cinema and theatre.
Born in 1960 in Thomasberg, Austria. Theatre, film and journalism studies at the University of Vienna. Ph.D., thesis on the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Freelance journalist since 1987. In 1997, he directed a short documentary about Hong Kong cinema before the handover which was aired on June 30, 1997, by renowned German-French Arte Channel. He curated several retrospectives of Asian Cinema, such as Hong Kong in Motion (1990, 1991, 1995), Taipei Stories (1996), Korean Cinema (1998), Cinema Asia (2003), China Now (2004), Asia 3D (2013). From 1994 to 2002 he was the catalog editor for the Viennale Film Festival. Selected publications: 2006 Spike Lee (Co-editor), 2009 Ang Lee (Co-editor), 2012 Real America (Co-editor), Josef Hader. Filmeund mehr (2017). Currently, he is the co-publisher of the Austrian film magazine ray. Ray Film Magazine: ray is Austria’s second largest film magazine. It is published monthly at a circulation of 27,000 copies in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Its deals with mainstream cinema but has also a strong focus on art-house movies, TV series, DVD and Blu-ray releases, film books, and soundtracks. It is a part of Austria’s film culture and thus deals extensively with Austrian film politics, subsidy system and festival landscape.
Raman Chawla Raman has been associated with cinema and Television for more than 30 years. First, through his 10-year tenure as Deputy Attaché (Film and Television) at the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in India and then as Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Modern Times, A creative Workshop for Cinema, Television, and Theatre. Raman was Senior Vice President (The Film House) Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art, organizer of the well-known Osian’s-Cinefan, Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema, founded by Aruna Vasudev. Raman was actively involved in programming, selecting and curating the films for Osian’s Cinefan and was in the core team that looked into all organizational aspects of the OCFF. He curated South Asian Films for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, from 2010 till it closed down in 2014. He has since been a consultant with festivals in and outside India. Currently, Raman is Consultant with El Gouna Film Festival, Egypt. The inaugural edition of this festival concluded on 29 September 2017. Raman has been Executive Producer and Creative Producer of several TV documentaries and made in India for Television Channels such TV, Arte, Discovery, TF1, Doordarshan, NBC… He has also been Executive Producer for Pankaj Butalia’s Shadows in the Dark and JaharKanungo’s award-winning feature film Reaching Silence. He is associated with NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) and has served on NETPAC juries at International Film Festivals in Rotterdam, Eurasia Film Festival, Antalya, Turkey, Black Nights Festival, Festival de Films d’Asie, Vesoul, France, Black Nights Festival, Tallin, Estonia, Thiruvanthpuram, International Film Festival of Kerala, India… Raman has also been associated with a leading Delhi based theatre group Chingari as a founder member and has been active on the Delhi stage having performed in several plays authored by Moliere, Genet, Beckett, Pinter, Karnad, Pirandello, Brecht, Frisch.
Habib Ahmadzadeh is an Iranian author, scriptwriter, and novelist, born in 1963 in Abadan. He graduated from Tehran Art University in Dramatic Literature and has a Ph.D. from Tarbiat Modares University in Art Research. He started his career in cinema with Glass Agency as script editor with Ebrahim Hatamikia in 1998, and won Iranian House of Cinema Award for best screenplay for The Night Bus in 2007. Over the course of his career, he has made a number of documentaries, and his latest The Best Statue in the World won the Tehran Cinema Verite Festival award for best documentary in 2012. The Iran-Iraq War features heavily in his work, with observations of human existence and human interactions in wartime informed by his own wartime service.
Presided over by Iranian film writer and director Reza Mirkarimi, the 36th edition of Fajr International Film Festival will be held in Tehran on April 19-27.